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  1. #1
    ringingears is offline Junior Member
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    New guy here. Question regarding ammunition.

    Hey guys, great forum and real helpful. I'm new to the owning a couple of handguns and would like to be as informed as possible. Can any of you vets recommend a book or some literature about ammunition? I don't really unsterstand grains, calibers, hollow point vs range rounds, quality of ammunition, etc etc.....

    I'm trying to learn and appreciate any reading that you could enlighten to so I can understand all of the above.
    Thanks much gentlemen. Look forward to sifting through the threads.

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  3. #2
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    There's tons of web pages out there with ballistic info on about anything you can think up. If you're just looking for the best rounds to use in your weapon(s) then just buy a few boxes of name brand ammo and see what yours likes to shoot the best. Any of them will do what you want them to do so it's all a matter of what the weapon likes more.

  4. #3
    ringingears is offline Junior Member
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    Good start and thanks. Hell I dunno what's good or bad far as the ammo quite yet but I'll follow that trail.
    Once I have a clear understanding of how certain ammunition works with different handguns I think I'll be in a better position to buy what I want instead of what the salesman wants to sell me.

    Example, I do buy Winchester .40 for my Browning HIPO but I have no idea what makes Winchester so good.
    These things I'd like to know so I can ask good questions.

  5. #4
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    What makes Winchester good is the same thing that makes most other good - quality control and quality components. Fortunately, most ammo makers in the USA are fairly similar in these respects. Therefore, it doesn't matter if you get Winchester or Hornady or Remington or Federal or CCI, you are going to get a quality product. IOW, don't sweat the brand decision.

    Some foreign ammo is a different story, but the ammo from the major Euro makers is just as good as local stuff. RWS, Eley, Fiocchi, Wolf, and Sellier&Bellot all make great products as well. Euro military surplus can vary widely in how good it is, so research that stuff before buying. I generally try to stay away from the eastern-bloc (former, anyway) steel-cased pistol ammo.

    As for specifics to your OP:

    grains is just a unit of measurement of weight. You can look this up on internet conversion tables if you want to relate it to ounces or pounds. BTW, grains is abbreviated "gr.", and not "g". A "g" by itself means grams.

    Hollowpoint vs. range ammo: any ammo can be used at the range. However, for just practice/fun shooting, it makes sense to use full-metal jacket (FMJ) loads as they are cheaper (often a lot cheaper). Shoot HP's on occasion to make sure of your and your gun's proficiency, but practice with FMJ.

    calibers: that's a whole 'nuther can of worms. Basically it's a numerical description of the bullet diameter, but over the centuries there have been numerous and arcane descriptions for calibers that come about because there really isn't a standardized way to name a new caliber. The number of a cailber will tell you the bullet diameter in most cases, but unfortunately it won't tell you how powerful it is in relation to other similarly-named calibers. IOW, you just have to look at and hopefully shoot the different calibers to understand them, and read a lot to get the hang of caliber lingo.

  6. #5
    ringingears is offline Junior Member
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    Great post Phil and thanks. Covered a lot of ground for me and appreciate your time.
    When you say (FMJ) you of course mean full metal jacket of range brass rounds that you can fill to the giill for 'fun and target shooting?'
    If I want to be cool and step into the gun store and want to buy a box of range ammo, how would I address the usual arrogant holstered salesman. "I'll take a box of 50 quality FMJ's?"
    I'm open to the lingo gents as well gents.
    Thanks.

  7. #6
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    Smile Buy a bunch!

    Personally I find Winchester range loads to be a little dirty. They use that Winchester 231 powder though and it's a little funky in bigger bore weapons like a 45 and some 40's. The rounds themselves always feed well so it's still a good load. I reload most all of my practice rounds and use a couple powders that at least seem to burn a little cleaner. I've found most any powders are fine in 9mm's. It's more about the slugs and what they are made like when it comes to them.

    He biggest reason I say to just buy a few different kinds and see what you like the best is all guns are different. Even two examples of the same gun will act a little different with the same ammo. I know that sounds a little funky but from my experience this is very true. I have several 1911's and and even have two that are the same brand (one stainless one blued. The blued one loves Cor-Bon while the stainless one don't fire them quite as well. The feed OK but the groups are not as good with one of these pistols. But the one that don't group the Cor-Bon will act like a tack driver with Federal Hydro Shok ammo.

    Any big name ammo maker will have good ammo. They have strict quality control and they want you to buy theirs so they do what they can to make that ammo work in as many weapons as they can. Some guns like hotter loads, some don't like certain kinds of hollow points. Is the ammo not as good? Sure it is. Just not as good in weapon A as it is weapon B.

    Ammo will act different depending on environmental variables it seems to me also. Ammo loaded in real cold placers will act a lot hotter if used in say, a jungle. Sellier and Bellot ammo made in eastern Europe seems a lot hotter but according to the specs it really shouldn't, but you can load a couple S&B rounds in a mag of white box Winchester and you will be able to tell the difference.

    For me I like to get my practice ammo to act as close to what I carry so I tend to like it a little hotter loaded. Many of the carry rounds are loaded a little hotter and I like the weapon to act the same all the time. I never understood what some reloaders would download practice ammo then get some screaming +p+ carry round. The first squeeze of the carry ammo and your muscles that already have enough going on are dealing with something that they are not used to.

    At the end of the day though you are wanting ammo that is going to go where you want it to. And about every bigger name ammo maker is going to get that done for you. Your mission...Should you choose to accept it will be to find that practice ammo that you believe is getting you the results you are looking for. Most practice ammo is ball ammo and it's designed to feed, feed, feed. The ammo you want to use when you have to use a weapon not just want to will be shaped different and might not feed as well or you might find that your gun don't like it even though three guys that are all experts because the web site you found their posts on said so. What I am getting at is all the talk in the world isn't getting the projectile down range. Only you can do that. and you will know when an ammo os not working right. Even if your weapon cycles well it's still going all over the place. Or maybe you get a hiccup now and then. And when you need that weapon to perform 100% is the wrong time to find out that the experts were wrong.

  8. #7
    SaltyDog's Avatar
    SaltyDog is offline Member
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    Check out wikipedia - they have a lot of info to get you started

    and they have pictures - that's what sells it for me

  9. #8
    scottaschultz Guest
    What SaltyDog said... If you go to Wikipedia and search for List_of_handgun_cartridges (exactly as spelled out in BOLD) you will get an extensive list of just about every handgun cartridge ever made. Most of the calibers listed also have links to a more in-depth article about each one specifically.

    Scott

  10. #9
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ringingears View Post
    Great post Phil and thanks. Covered a lot of ground for me and appreciate your time.

    You're quite welcom.

    When you say (FMJ) you of course mean full metal jacket of range brass rounds that you can fill to the giill for 'fun and target shooting?'

    Yes. And not always brass. CCI makes a very good product called "Blazer" that uses aluminum cases. One cannot reload these cases, but they are cheaper than normal brass rounds. Be aware though that not all semi-autos will function well with Blazer, but most do just fine.

    If I want to be cool and step into the gun store and want to buy a box of range ammo, how would I address the usual arrogant holstered salesman. "I'll take a box of 50 quality FMJ's?"

    ]I guess you could do that, but dropping the "quality" would make you sound less dorky. Just look over the brands and prices, and just ask for something that doesn't lighten your wallet too much, and isn't a steel-cased ammo from a place east of Germany. BTW, look for ammo at your local Academy Sports or Wal-Mart, as they will just about always be cheaper than a gunshop.
    You should get on the catalog mailing lists from Natchez Shooter's Supply and MidwayUSA (they have websites). Just going through their extensive catalogs will help you learn about the many types of ammo that is available....

    have fun,
    PhilR.
    p.s. the "welcom" above needs an "e"......

  11. #10
    Tuco is offline Junior Member
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    I have a similar question about ammo. I walk into a shop to buy 9mm ammo. The Winchester box says 9mm 115gr. What does the 115gr indicate? Is that the weight of the bullet or the weight of the powder? I'm thinking it's the weight of the bullet with a standard (whateve that is) amount of powder. Then if the box indicates +P or +P+ then it's telling me there's more powder than standard.

    Thanks.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilsJohnson View Post
    Personally I find Winchester range loads to be a little dirty
    I am glad I am not the only one who noticed this. I've discussed this at length with many people. Some people claim Magtech is dirtiest, some people say CCI is dirtiest. I've personally found WWB to be the dirtiest ammo I've ever shot. Shooting these will always produce a thick, matte-black, and very gritty film on roughly 33% of the internals of my handguns. I still shoot it because it's consistent and affordable but I'd take Magtech over it any day.

    My personal favorite is Magtech. CCI, Fiocchi (loaded hotter than the norm), and S&B as close seconds.

  13. #12
    Bisley's Avatar
    Bisley is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuco View Post
    I have a similar question about ammo. I walk into a shop to buy 9mm ammo. The Winchester box says 9mm 115gr. What does the 115gr indicate? Is that the weight of the bullet or the weight of the powder?
    115 is the bullet weight.

    A 9mm practice load probably will have in the neighborhood of 4-6 grains of powder under the bullet, depending on the burn rate of the powder. The faster the burn rate, the lesser the amount of powder is used, and vice versa. Magnums (high pressure loads) tend to use slow-burning powder, so they use a lot more of it, whereas low pressure chamberings tend to use faster burning powder, in small amounts.

  14. #13
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    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by literaltrance View Post
    I've personally found WWB to be the dirtiest ammo I've ever shot.
    My vote goes to Blazer Brass as the dirtiest ammo I use with WWB a close second. My personal favorite is Lawman.

  15. #14
    PhilR. is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by literaltrance View Post
    Fiocchi (loaded hotter than the norm),

    I was thinking that my Fiocchi .45acp seemed a bit hot, but thought it was just my imagination. I guess I'll have to get the chrony out and see how fast it really is traveling....

  16. #15
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    Question how about the Shooters Bible?

    I am pretty much a noob too, but for what its worth, you might look at the Shooters Bible. I think there are some who recommend one edition over another, but I think it's full of great info!

    Quote Originally Posted by ringingears View Post
    Hey guys, great forum and real helpful. I'm new to the owning a couple of handguns and would like to be as informed as possible. Can any of you vets recommend a book or some literature about ammunition? I don't really unsterstand grains, calibers, hollow point vs range rounds, quality of ammunition, etc etc.....

    I'm trying to learn and appreciate any reading that you could enlighten to so I can understand all of the above.
    Thanks much gentlemen. Look forward to sifting through the threads.

  17. #16
    nolexforever's Avatar
    nolexforever is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by literaltrance View Post
    I've personally found WWB to be the dirtiest ammo I've ever shot. Shooting these will always produce a thick, matte-black, and very gritty film on roughly 33% of the internals of my handguns.
    i agree, i will find a thick coating of powder after shooting WWB. the blazer brass and lawman are no where near the dirtiness of WWB.

  18. #17
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    Yeah..If you're shooting a 45 or even a 40 you can see the results of a dirty powder a lot more. I actually loaded some rounds with some Winchester 231 powder to check it against some others and it was a good bit more messy. I don't see this with a 9mm much at all unless I"m really slinging some brass but in the bigger bores you can see it a lot more. I Like the Blazer brass OK, Sellier & Bellot can get a little flunky but still not as bad as WWB I'm using Unique in my hand loads right now and it seems pretty good. It groups a lot better anyway when I'm loading with that. I use Tight Group more in my 9mm mostly. Mag tech does OK in my Super Redhawk, it's a little funky too but about anything is when you're talking about a 44
    With that 231 though I can have the muzzle coated and about 1.5 inches on the slide and frame. I don't get that with stuff like PMC or Federal.

    I gues it don't matter as long as you don't mind the clean up. I usually have a few pistols out when I'm shooting and if I have to spent a little longer on them it starts to add up.

    I hear a lot of people that don't like Magtech or S&B but started to believe it's not the powder it's the rounds. They both a hotter loads and after a box or so you can really feel the difference. I personally like that being the carry ammo I have around is usually hotter too and the home loads I have are power wise. It seems that carry ammo so a little hotter than many target loads and to me that's not training right. How is muscle memory going to work for you if the loads you are shooting are a good bit different than the ones carried.

    Really for the money it's hard to beat Sellier and Bellot...Well..it used to be cheaper. . I have ordered enough at a time that my UPS man got to really disliking me THat WWB shoots pretty well. I'm just not really high on the clean up after

  19. #18
    TOF's Avatar
    TOF
    TOF is offline Senior Member
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    High pressure loads typicaly yield a more complete burn.

    My friend uses the same powder in his 45 as I do in my .40 and 9MM. His muzzle always comes away with a soot layer covering the forward 3 inches of slide. My .40 and 9MM may have a slight coat on the forward face of the slide but nothing down it's sides.

    We use Vihtavuori N340 for most of our loads.


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